2, 2003 Vol 3 #6
week my supervisor at work, Jackie, came
back from a week's vacation camping on the
beach. She told us that her
granddaughter, Paige, who will be four
years old in December, spent a night with
her and her husband camping in their fifth
wheel. The little one is her only
granddaughter and the "apple of grandma's
Grandma was reading stories to her
granddaughter in the bedroom.
Suddenly, Paige looked up at a "picture"
of Jesus hanging on the wall and asked,
"Grandma, who's that man?"
"Why, Paige, that's Jesus," Jackie
explained. Paige thought a minute and
said, "Oh, then He grew up?"
You might laugh when you read this, but my
first reaction was (open mouth, insert
foot!), "Oh Jackie, that's so sad!"
I couldn't believe that a child nearly
four years old still thought of Jesus as
only a baby.
"She's only three!" Jackie shot
back. "What's she supposed to know
at that age?"
Only three, almost four, I thought.
What, indeed, is she supposed to
know? The sad part is that Jackie
doesn't know much more than her
granddaughter does about the Bible.
My other coworker, who is seventy, thinks
she is going to heaven because "my
grandson is going into the ministry, and
he watches out for me." How many
times I have tried to talk to them about
God and the Bible. Talk about
on thin ice! I can tell by the
smirks and looks between them that they
don't want to hear it!
I think my coworkers characterize most of
the United States and the world-lost and
without hope, but too ignorant to know it,
and in most cases, too apathetic to
care! My question is how to reach
them when they don't want to hear
it. One can't help but be reminded
of those to whom Noah preached before the
flood and of the people of Sodom and
Gomorrah in Lot's time.
Panning for more Gold
Send Someone Else
preacher's articles this issue
A. Jay Kelly
But Moses said, "O Lord, please send
someone else to do it." Exodus 4:13
This statement comes at the end of Moses'
discourse with God at the bush. He
had already given three excuses as to why
he could not lead the people of Israel out
of bondage, and now the truth has come
out. He just plain doesn't want to do it.
Oh, there are other reasons. He is
not eloquent; they possibly won't believe
him (given the manner in which he left
Egypt, it is entirely possible.)
Also possible is the excuse that the
Israelites will not recall their
God. Moses gave all these excuses,
and the Lord had an answer for each, but
still he did not want to go.
Service to God can be, at times, a most
inconvenient thing. There are many
things we would rather do than reach out
to the poor or stand for God against our
friends. Remember, Moses had been raised
in Pharaoh's house and was likely going
back to confront someone he knew and with
whom he had been friends.
It is also much easier to do that which we
are comfortable doing, but God calls us to
get out of our comfort zones.
Sometimes God's work involves following
and sometimes it involves leading, but it
usually involves some measure of
God's call to Moses cost him the next 80
years of his life, leading the children of
Israel out of bondage and to the Promised
Land. He wasn't perfect, and
ultimately he didn't get to live in
He did, however,
get to the better Promised Land. I'd
say that made it all worthwhile.
A. Jay Kelley is the evangelist for the
church of Christ in Colby, Kan. His
e-mail is email@example.com
|How Dedicated Are
"As the winds
from Hurricane Isabel swept over
Arlington National Cemetery, the
soldiers who guard the Tomb of the
Unknowns were given - for the
first time in history - permission to
abandon their posts and seek shelter.
`They told us that. But that's not
what's going to happen,' said Sgt.
Christopher Holmes, standing vigil on
overnight duty. `That's never an option
for us. It went in one ear and right
out the other.'
Staff Sgt. Alfred Lanier, also on duty
Thursday night, said guards might move
inside if the storm became truly
life-threatening. But he didn't think it
was likely. `Once you become a
badgeholder, it's like you'll do
whatever you have to do to guard the
unknowns,' Lanier said. `For one, it's
my job. And for two, that's just how
respect I myself have for the unknowns.
That's just something we cherish.'
Holmes said he was willing to risk his
life keeping watch over the tomb. `It's
just considered to be the greatest honor
to go out there and guard,' Holmes said.
`It's not only the unknowns. It's a
symbol that represents everyone who's
fought and died for our country.'"
The men in this story regarded their
duty and presence at the Tomb of the
Unknowns as an honor and privilege, one
for which they will suffer hardship, and
even give their lives if necessary! What
a challenge to those wearing the name of
Christ! Consider the comparisons of
these soldiers to soldiers of the cross
(2 Tim 2:3):
1) These men hazard their lives to guard
the tomb of men who died to protect our
country's freedom. Christians are to
assemble to proclaim the death of Jesus,
who died to free all the world from the
bondage of sin (1 John 2:2) and to
destroy our mortal enemy (Heb 2:14-15).
2) The bodies of "The Unknowns" are
still in the tomb, but the tomb of Jesus
is empty (Matt 28:1-8; 1 Cor 15:4,
3) The Unknowns died for our protection,
but Jesus died and was raised for our
justification (Romans 4:25).
4) "The Unknowns" are just that . . .
unknown. But the apostle Paul said, "For
I know whom I have believed . . . " (2
5) The work of The Unknowns is complete.
The work of Jesus continues as He serves
as our Mediator (1 Tim 2:5), our
Advocate (1 John 2:1); and our
Intercessor (Heb 7:25); and our
sympathetic and eternal High Priest (Heb
The protectors of The Unknowns feel a
deep sense of gratitude toward their
charge. In do doing, they consider their
responsibility with an utmost
seriousness. Conversely, could it be
said that those who willfully forsake
the assembly do so because they are
ungrateful? What is the source of their
ingratitude? They neither know Him who
died for their sins nor consider the
sacrifice made on their behalf.
A hurricane couldn't keep these soldiers
from their post, but some who claim to
be soldiers of the cross absent
themselves from the assembly for any and
every pitiful excuse under the sun. Can
you imagine one of these soldiers
missing his post because he had a
headache? A little cold or sore throat?
He had family visiting? He stayed out
too late the night before?
Brethren, being a Christian is serious
business! The consequences are eternal!
Heaven or hell weighs in the balance!
Will you be found faithful (Matt 25:21,
23), or will you be weighed in the
balances and found wanting (Dan 5:27)?
Todd Clippard preaches for the Burleson
Church of Christ at 10655 US HWY 278 in
Hamilton, Alabama. www.burlesonchurchofchrist.com
|Do You Give
countries have an official holiday
called "Thanksgiving?" For all our
problems, don't we have a wonderful
country? And all over our nation,
and right here in our community, people
are sharing with others what they
have I thank God for all of this.
Did you know that "Thanksgiving" is in
the Bible? In 1 Corinthians 10:16,
the apostle Paul says, "Is not the cup
of thanksgiving for which we give thanks
a participation in the blood of Christ?
And is not the bread that we break a
participation in the body of Christ?"
(NIV). He was talking of the
Lord's Supper, Communion, the Eucharist
(which means Thanksgiving). This
simple meal was eaten by the early
church of God, wherever they met, every
first day of the week (see Acts 20:7; 1
Corinthians 11:17-32; 16:1, 2;
Of course its meaning is that Jesus
offered his body and his blood as an
eternal sacrifice, once for all time and
all people, on the cross on that day at
Golgotha. But as the gospel story
goes, he did not remain dead in the
grave, but arose on the first day of the
week. Perhaps that is why the early
church met together on the first day
instead of on the Sabbath (Saturday) as
the Jews did. It was a day of
victory, the "day pertaining to the Lord
(Jesus)" as the word translated "Lord's"
in Rev. 1:10 and 1 Corinthians 11:20
literally means. It was a Supper
that is special to the Lord on the day
when He became our victorious Lord.
So what about you? Does that day,
that supper, that Lord mean something to
you? Do you give thanks?
Lawrence Barr preaches for the church of
Christ in Indiana, Pennsylvania.
Does Every Person Have A Right
to His Own Belief?
goodies this issue
If what we
mean by this is, "Does every person have
the freedom to choose to be lost and
burn in hell," the answer is yes.
Man does have freedom of choice.
But if we mean by this, "Does every
person have the right to believe
whatever he wants and God not care," the
answer is NO.
It is frightening how many times I have
heard good loving people who are trying
to avert confrontation say, "It doesn't
make any difference what you
believe." This kind of statement
undermines God's eternal purpose for
us. Though this kind of statement
may soothe, appease, and cool down
heated discussions about Bible
teachings, it will not cool down the
fires of hell after judgment.
It is clear that we all have freedom of
choice, but with eternity in mind, and
understanding that only God determines
the terms of entry into heaven, we
cannot choose what we are going to
believe in order to get to heaven.
Mel Martin preaches for the Lincoln and
Tunnell Church of Christ in Santa Maria,
"Let your light shine before men in such a
way that they may see your good works, and
glorify your Father who is in
heaven." Matthew 5:16
If we were to video tape ourselves for a
day, would the viewing of that tape be
consistent with how we perceived
ourselves? Watching the tape allows
us to see ourselves as others and God see
us. In the final analysis, it
matters not what we may think of ourselves
or what others may think of us; what
really matters is how do we appear to
God. The reality is that God sees us
the way we actually are, in thought and
action. May we so live that a video
of ourselves would portray a life pleasing
"But to me it is a very small thing that I
should be examined by you, or by any human
court; in fact, I do not even examine
myself. For I am conscious of nothing
against myself, yet I am not by this
acquitted; but the one who examines me is
the Lord." 1 Corinthians 4:3-4
Ron Adams preaches for the North San Diego
Church of Christ in San Diego,
California. His email is firstname.lastname@example.org
. The best of Thursday's Thoughts
are posted at:http://thursdaythought.homestead.com
Thoughts of Gold
our sisters in Christ
Each fall we
are rushed from Halloween into
Thanksgiving and then are caught up in a
whirlwind until after Christmas.
Why do we do this to ourselves?
Traditionally, we are told that
Thanksgiving is a time to contemplate
those things we have to be thankful for,
and our list is endless. We spread
a table with enough food to feed the
masses, we visit with friends and
family, we watch football on wide screen
TV. We really have it made!
As Christians we should be thankful for
Christ and the possibility of salvation,
for the privilege we have to worship
without government interference, for the
convenience of a comfortable building,
for the automobile that brings us, for
the Bible that we are able to own, and
for the friends and family that we are
able to worship with. And the
list goes on.
However, what are we actually thankful
for? Not the air conditioner/heater that
is never adjusted right, not the
preacher that gets long winded while our
social calendar is calling us, not for
the Bible that we forget to read prior
to Sunday school, not the
crying baby that distracts us from our
singing. What are we thankful for?
There is a lot wrong with our
society. One hour of TV news
confirms that. (Or a preview to a
30-minute sit-com.) Our schools
aren't educating our children; our
society isn't instilling the basics of
morality, honesty, and respect. Our
politicians are corrupt (but did you
vote to change that?) Yes, there
is a lot wrong with our
society, but compared to the rest of the
world, where would you rather
live? We have a lot to be thankful
for. The ability to read and the
availability of reading material; the
ability to work and a paycheck that
would seem monumental in other
societies; the right to worship.
These three things alone set the United
apart from the rest of the world.
Shouldn't our faith also set us apart
from the world? What are you doing
to show that you are thankful?
Ruth Patterson is the secretary and
bulletin editor at the Hinesville Church
of Christ, Hinesville, Georgia.
& sayings for bulletins and signs
called to be witnesses, not lawyers or
The task ahead of us is never as great
as the power behind us.
God grades on the cross, not on the
Mirror, mirror, on the wall. Can
you see Christ in me at all?
Quiet service can sound very loud.
If you go against the grain of God's
law, expect splinters.
The last three sayings were gleaned from
"Quotes, Quips, Signs" at Ed Thomason's
(a bonanza for preachers looking for
materials!). Ed preaches for the
New Madrid, Missouri Church of Christ
and is the webmaster for BulletinGold.